My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: US$49 Roku Streaming Stick with HDMI Compatability launched before Ash Wednesday

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

US$49 Roku Streaming Stick with HDMI Compatability launched before Ash Wednesday

“Our vision is to be the operating system for Streaming television, just as there is Windows and Mac, and iOS and Android. Roku is emerging as the most popular platform for Streaming TV”

Roku Chief Marketing Officer Matthew Anderson commenting on the launch of the US$49 Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI Version)

Happy Ash Wednesday Everyone! Have I got a Scoop for the Streaming Peeps!
The US$35 Google Chromecast made quite a splash when it was launched on Tuesday July 24th 2013 for a price of US$35 as reported in my blog article entitled “Google launches a 4G LTE Google Nexus 7 and Google Chromecast Streaming Device - Uninspired Tablet upgrades but US$35 Google Chromecast is the Streaming World's Blue Jasmine”. 

Now stand back and be amazed by the even lower-priced response from the undisputed king of Streaming Devices, Roku, who launched their US$49 Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI Version) on Tuesday March 4th 2014, a day before Ash Wednesday as stated in “Roku's new Streaming Stick takes on Chromecast: $50, HDMI-compatible, 1,200 apps (hands-on)”, published March 4, 2014 12:04 PM PST, CNET Reviews and “Roku sticks it to the Chromecast with a cheaper, more flexible Streaming Stick”, published March 4, 2014 By Ryan Waniata, DigitalTrends.

Roku’s family (yes, they are now a family!) of Streaming devices are easy to recommend as I’d done with the US$50 Roku LT Streaming Player in my blog article entitled “Great Gadget gifts for less than US$50 for your loved ones - Something Great for everyone that likes The Starving Games this Christmas 2013”, as they are low cost yet come pre-loaded with loads of Apps, which in the Roku universe are called Channels.

This new US$49 Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI Version) differs from the previous US$90 Roku Streaming Stick (MHL Version) that was reviewed back in December 2013 as described in “Roku Streaming Stick review: Good but niche”, published 12/20/12, CNET Reviews in that it supports any TV that has HDMI and  half the price.

It’s tiny; at 3” long, it’s only got enough space for a Reset button and a plastic grille to “breath” in air to prevent it from overheating. It’s also powered by a USB port like its competition the Google Chromecast, meaning you’ll have to sacrifice one of the USB ports at the back of your HDTV!

But it’s that price similarity and the quality of the US$49 Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI Version) offer that’s got many interested on this Ash and Sackcloth Day as it’s clearly a winner against the much cheaper US$35 Google Chromecast as concluded in “Roku Streaming Stick vs. Google Chromecast: How do they stack up?”, published March 4, 2014 3:16 PM PST by Matthew Moskovciak, CNET News.

Thoughts to ponder as 40 days and nights of Fasting before Easter are upon us. Thus anything that has more value than the very limited US$35 Google Chromecast is welcome for the Lenten Season. And what a value it is:

1.      1,200-channel Library of Apps as listed on Roku's Website
2.      1080p output, dual-band Wi-Fi support
3.      RF Remote Control with Wi-Fi Direct Support
4.      USB powered Device

I don't know about anyone else, but when Roku and 3M had jointly released the 3M Roku Streaming Projector based on the new MHL (Mobile High Definition link) Standard back in February 2013, I was intrigued by the idea of portable fun-sized Streaming Device as stated in my blog article entitled “3M Roku Streaming Projector is the ultimate Mystery Machine for Parties and Corporate Show-and-Tell”.

Roku Saddles up for the competition – Cheaper isn’t always better but the Barbarians are gathering

Roku product is squarely aimed at the cheaper but poorly executed US$35 Google Chromecast and is a sign that Roku isn’t afraid of the new challengers to its dominance in Streaming as noted in “Now with Streaming Stick, Roku isn't sweating the blitz”, published March 5, 2014 4:30 AM PST by Joan E. Solsman, CNET News.  Roku has been the favorite of Cord-Cutters, the informal name for customers who opt to forgo Cable TV in exchange for the Convergence of Broadband internet and watching their TV Content via an IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) Device.

This based on Research done by Research Firm Parks Research, which places Roku in Pole position with Apple iTV coming in a close Second as stated in my blog article entitled “Parks Research says Roku Streaming Box is Consumer favourite - Traditional Jamaican Free-to-Air Broadcasters in a state of Paranoia over Streaming”.

Support for HDMI (High Definition Media Input) and the ability to control your Streaming Device using your smartphone are now par for the course. The challengers to Roku’s throne know that. They also know that Streaming is on the uptick based on the stats of analyst NPD Research as noted in my blog article entitled “Cable TV subscriptions Declines as the Connected Home boost IPTV Streaming”.

To that end, Roku’s competitors have Streaming devices that may possibly double as Gaming Consoles. The Apple iTV is rumoured to be revamping their device to make a push into China; so too are Google and Amazon as stated in my latest blog article my blog article entitled “China allows Console Makers to manufacture Video Game Consoles in Shanghai Free Zone - Social Mobile Cloud Gaming Revival with Legit Chinese Customers and defense against Apple and Google .

As if on cue, Amazon already has plans to debut some Streaming device from their Amazon Prime Movie Rental Service with a splash of Gaming from their Amazon App Store, most likely at a discount to their Amazon Prime members come this March 2014 as explained in my blog article entitled “Amazon is planning to launch a Streaming Set Top Box by March 2014 - Amazon Prime Kindle Box is a Dash of Cinnamon and may be the ultimate savior of Gaming Consoles”.

Let’s see how the US$49 Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI Version) will fare against this coming onslaught of IPTV Streaming Devices. Otherwise Roku may be facing a Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) as Console Games becomes the Content of Choice for Set Top Box Streaming!

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